So I went to the Institute of Education to hear all about this…it was a rather academic, very well delivered speech by Professor Carol Vincent, all about how middle class parents (mothers actually) have taken parenting and throttled the life out of it thanks to extra mural activities, afterschool clubs, parenting books and interference at schools.
“It appears inconceivable to many middle class mothers that they should leave education up to the school – that they should wholeheartedly trust their children’s teachers to get on with it,” said Prof Vincent, sounding more than a little aggrieved and grumbling about our obsession with ‘enrichment activities’ for our offspring.
Am I guilty of this? Well, not really. I am very happy with the education ALL my children receive at school. I just think they quite like having a bit extra. Enrichment activites sound OK for me, if they are enriching and not a total pain. Plus, they are available. Very easily. It’s not like I have to get in a car and drive for an hour in order to have Kumon or swimming lessons. These lot are on the doorstep. Plus, they gain from it. Walking home from school Lucien (7) picks up a postcard from the pavement. Tough here, Islington. Anyway. It shows an artwork by Grayson Perry. Not the rude one here but one of his pots.
“That’s by Grayson Perry,” says my delightful child casually. Have I taken him, Helicopterishly, to the Perry show at the BM? Sorry, Professor, I have. We loved it. Particularly when the artist himself turned up in full female regalia. I think we were all enriched by that.